The Nomination of Merrick Garland for United States Supreme Court

Chief Judge Merrick Garland is an eminently qualified nominee for the Supreme Court who has established a record of fairness, integrity and legal excellence over many years. I look forward to reviewing Judge Garland’s record and giving his nomination the full consideration it deserves. The President has done his job as is proscribed under the Constitution, and it’s time for Senate Republicans to commit to doing their job by giving this nominee a fair hearing and a timely vote. Several Senate Republicans have engaged in outrageous political games by refusing to commit to giving any nominee under President Obama a hearing or even a meeting in their offices. The Constitution is clear. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution explicitly requires the President to select a nominee for any vacancy to the Supreme Court, and the Senate to advise and consent on that nominee.

The history is also clear. The Senate has taken action on every Supreme Court nominee in the last 100 years, regardless of whether the nomination was made in a presidential election year, and not since the Civil War has the Senate taken longer than a year to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. In 1987, Justice Kennedy was confirmed in the last year of President Reagan’s final term under a Democratic Senate, and the Senate has confirmed 17 Supreme Court nominees in presidential election years. It’s time for Republicans on the Judiciary Committee to reverse course. In January extreme rightwing groups like Heritage Action issued marching orders to Senate Republicans to shut down any judicial nominations until President Obama left office. Since then, Senate Republicans have marched in lockstep with Heritage Action and extreme voices on the right. The history of independence that the Senate Judiciary Committee has earned will evaporate if Committee Republicans continues down this path. Senators are free to vote however they choose on a Supreme Court nominee, but they must do their job and give that nominee a fair hearing and a timely vote.

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